CTN body text:RAYMOND —With a very strong support of both the House and Senate, the budget passed with flying colors... This budget is truly a continuation of the budget that we passed last term, that was then created by the Republican Speaker of the House, St. Rep. Bill O’Brien. As with every budget, there is one or two things you don’t like, but after the Committee of Conference the choice is vote yes or no. In the House HB-1-A passed RC 337-18, HB-2-FN-A-L passed RC 346-12, and HB-25-FN-A passed on voice vote.
The 2013-14 Budget Highlights
The committee of conference report on HB 1 (the budget bill) and HB 2 (the trailer bill) is one that fiscal conservatives supported.
Largely following the Senate versions of the two bills, the budget is balanced using reasonable revenue estimates without new or increased taxes or fees. Compared to the current biennial budget, it represents a 2.8% increase in general fund spending, at $10.7B over the biennium.
The Key Provisions
• Four business tax reductions passed in the 2011-12 session but delayed in the House budget, will take effect as planned.
• There will be no increase in the gas or cigarette taxes.
• There will be no Medicaid expansion in the budget. A study commission will present a report by October 15. Future legislative action is required if the state is to participate in expanded Medicaid.
• Charter school fully funding for current schools, approved schools, and four new schools is in the budget.
• Additional funding was provided for the Veterans Home to cover past unpaid utility bills and continue to provide a high level of care.
• Adequate education aid for 58 cities and towns has been increased by raising the so-called “cap” on the maximum increase in state aid from 105.5% to 108%, by nearly $4M over the biennium.